Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Saturday, May 23, 2015

No "Insensitive Bloodthirst" for the Duggars

It's hard to read former AR Governor Mike Huckabee's Facebook post regarding the revelation that the oldest Duggar son, Josh, molested 5 young girls over a period of a couple years, without wondering if it's entirely appropriate just yet to voice quite this kind of defense:

...Good people make mistakes and do regrettable and even disgusting things. The reason that the law protects disclosure of many actions on the part of a minor is that the society has traditionally understood something that today’s blood-thirsty media does not understand—that being a minor means that one's judgement is not mature. No one needs to defend Josh’s actions as a teenager, but the fact that he confessed his sins to those he harmed, sought help, and has gone forward to live a responsible and circumspect life as an adult is testament to his family’s authenticity and humility. Those who have enjoyed revealing this long ago sins in order to discredit the Duggar family have actually revealed their own insensitive bloodthirst, for there was no consideration of the fact that the victims wanted this to be left in the past and ultimately a judge had the information on file destroyed—not to protect Josh, but the innocent victims....
I can't say that I know any better than Mike Huckabee whether any of the victims preferred this be kept quiet, but I do know that this family has made their lives, or a version thereof, very public, and they were foolish if they did not suppose that it would not come to light. If they did not know in 2003, when Jim Bob Duggar got around to a half-assed job of reporting it, then by 2006, when Oprah jettisoned them and contacted a child abuse hotline, they should have realized that other people knew about it. There's expressions of disbelief and disappointment and a not-un-smug satisfaction in pointing out the hypocrisy of pointing a finger at, say, gay couple-helmed families, or spreading actually harmful lies about trans* people, when no, the child-predator sometimes looks like a virtual child himself, from a solidly Christian family, being sent their way--but no evil intent.

This is not "bloodthirst". No one wants Josh Duggar bunged into a prison deep and dark or sent to Ol' Sparky for the transgression against his own sisters, if one understands the situation correctly.  Not a pound of flesh nor ounce of blood needs to be expended to satisfy the "monster" that the Duggars, who have not exactly been shy about courting media attention, are now facing.

All we'd like is the sham torn down. We have a patriarch and matriarch that have presented us with their quiverfull of pleasant, well-behaved youngsters, offering a vision of what, to people outside their unique religious worldview with only a passing notion of what it all entails, just seems quaint: My! What a passel o'children! God bless, indeed. Be fruitful and multiply and whatnot.

Scratching the surface of the forced smiles and wholesome exterior of a family isn't "bloodthirst". It's genuine curiosity about a family that was presented to us as a curiosity. And then got curiouser.  If Josh Duggar, aged 14, 15, or 16, wasn't "unforgivable" for molesting younger girls, some in their sleep, entirely without their consent, as if a boy that age does not know about boundaries or have any sense that it is wrong to touch the private parts of his sisters or other girls he had access to--then surely adults can be forgiven for wondering what in the fresh hell those parents were doing about all this.

Not to "discredit" the Duggars of course, who obviously have a refreshing point of view about how...other people should raise their families. And how government should encourage the kinds of families...the Duggars represent. 

Well, maybe there does need to be an answer for them, a little. Because this scenario was predicted by other people, women who had been in the Quiverfull Movement, and women who care about how other women are raised.

The Duggar girls have been raised to "grin and bear it" because being forgiving and forbearing is being "mighty in spirit".  As if being abused and sucking it up was a way to better please God. This is a culture where virginity is associated with "purity" and the body doesn't belong to the girl herself, but to the Big Old Daddy in the Sky. When the keeper of her purity ring (her earthly papa) hands her over to her betrothed, a woman is supposed to be submissive. Even if she is smarter than her husband, or if he's a drunk, or if he's imperfect--she has to be ready to call him "Lord". And if he is mean? Abusive? This is a culture that doesn't necessarily understand that spousal rape is a real thing.

That kind of training up is everything that runs counter to my feminism. Those little girls needed to be told their bodies belong to them, and that no one had the right to touch their bodies in any way they did not chose. Those little girls needed adults to make sure this thing didn't happen but the one time (if that), and it sounds like it happened more than once. Those little girls needed a person who put them first because they were wronged, instead of covering up for the Number One Son. And their brother could do a hell of a lot better in his statement than say he made mistakes that could have ruined his life.

What about theirs? What about the apology for how he affected their lives, and trust, and sense of their bodies?

Is he unable to acknowledge them--is the family as a whole? Because to me, I wonder how this news does affect them, really. Josh was able to talk about what he'd done to his wife, but how about the girls? Are they thinking they are less than pure? Are they wondering now if they are seen as damaged?  Will this revelation make them somehow devalued? Do they think their future spouses will think less of them for this happening?

If that is a real viewpoint anyone could have, I would sit them down. This was never their fault. I hope they did get some kind of counseling, although the narratives in the news never mention it. I hope they know they are stars in their own show and can be anything in this one life they are given--even if it isn't mother, helpmeet, and cleaning lady for people who don't know you are all, in this world, you ever need to be, by just doing you--and not by who you do or are done by.

No, as to Mike Huckabee--I don't have any bloodthirst. I know the Duggar parents were scared for their kids and prayed and cared and wished this never happened. I sympathize. But the way they went about it all, though. Really. I just don't know about defending all that.

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